COVID-19 has proved enormously disruptive to the provision of cancer screening, which does not just represent an initial test but an entire process, including risk detection, diagnostic follow-up, and treatment. Successful delivery of services at all points in the process has been negatively affected by the pandemic. There is a void in empirical high-quality evidence to support a specific strategy for administering cancer screening during a pandemic and its resolution phase, but several pragmatic considerations can help guide prioritization efforts. Targeting guideline-eligible people who have never been screened, or those who are significantly out of date with screening, has the potential to maximize benefits now and into the future. Disruptions to care due to the pandemic could represent an unparalleled opportunity to reassess early detection programs towards an explicit, thoughtful, and just prioritization of populations historically experiencing cancer disparities. By focusing screening services on populations that have the most to gain, and by careful and deliberate planning for the period following the pandemic, we can positively affect cancer outcomes for all.
Cancer screening in the U.S. through the COVID-19 pandemic, recovery, and beyond
Authors: Croswell, Jennifer M; Corley, Douglas A; Lafata, Jennifer Elston; Haas, Jennifer S; Inadomi, John M; Kamineni, Aruna; Ritzwoller, Debra P; Vachani, Anil; Zheng, Yingye; National Cancer Institute Population-based Research to Optimize the Screening Process (PROSPR) II Consortium,
Prev Med. 2021 10;151:106595. Epub 2021-06-30.